Students and educators representing schools across the state demonstrated how technology can enhance teaching and learning at the 21st annual Student Technology Showcase.
Heritage Hall at the State Capitol hosted lawmakers, business leaders and K-12 students to see first-hand how technology is used in classrooms.
“The project has evolved as technology has evolved. Initially, students brought in clunky desktop computers and Palm Pilots. Today, they bring paper-thin computer screens, electronic tablets and iPhones,” said Ric Wiltse, executive director, Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning, one of the event sponsors. “School teams find enormous value in the planning as well as participation. Students come prepared to explain their technology demonstration to legislators, visitors and other students.”
Four schools from Oakland county sent teams to demonstrate what they have been creating.
Carrie Taub Roth, design center specialist at Roosevelt Elementary in West Bloomfield, and her students created projects and demonstrated with a tech tool called littleBits.
The tool uses magnets and electricity to create simple circuits. One student group created a flashlight and the other an alarm clock.
“This is a project that I work on every year with the third and fourth graders at Roosevelt,” said Roth. “The (tools) are a great way to reinforce and introduce the concepts they are learning in class in a creative way.”
This is Roosevelt’s sixth year presenting at the event.
“It is a great way for student’s to show the Legislature how they are using technology in the classroom to reinforce curriculum, but to get them career and college ready from the youngest of ages,” said Roth. “Coding and robotics are an integral skill for students to learn and help them to see themselves in potential careers and get excited about college.”
Technology demonstrated ranged from Lego League robotics, computer coding, web design, interactive animations, podcasting, adaptive gaming devices for students with disabilities, laser cutting and 3-D printing, robotics and cube satellites.
Ashley Proulx, a third-grade teacher at Schoolcraft Elementary in Waterford had students demonstrate VEXGO labs they currently host as an after school club. The lab features problem-based learning for Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) curriculum that includes robotics, computer coding and design, and engineering.
“The four students who came to represent Schoolcraft were more than excited for the opportunity and they were excited to share their own creative designs,” said Proulx. “They were visited by many students, educators, and government officials who wanted to learn more about their designs, robots, and games.”
“The best part was showing off our robot,” said Kyleigh Stahl, a fifth grader at Schoolcraft.
Her brother, Marshall, a fourth grader, added, “I got to show everyone my robot and explain. Everyone was very kind and I was so proud and happy.”
Proulx said the variety of displays showed the range of technology being used in classrooms around the state.
“Every project was vastly different,” she said. “The thing that they all have in common is that they are all providing students with real world skills that will help them be successful in their futures.”
It was the first time that Schoolcraft participated in the event.
“The best thing about it was when I got to show everyone the supercar that I created,” said third grader Allison Yater. “It could knock down obstacles by itself and even more obstacles when I would wind it up.“
Students from Davisburg Elementary in Holly also participated by showing LEGO Education SPIKE Essential robots.
Their presentation also included discussing the path light travels through the human eye by building a car with programmable light.
“Our students were excited to share their innovative STEM-related projects with lawmakers, parents and technology enthusiasts at the Capitol,” said Tracey Smith, a STEM instructor at Davisburg. “Our students spoke articulately about their project and answered questions from attendees. The event was also a great opportunity to show legislators why funding technology education is so important.”